SALT LAKE CITY — One of the bright spots in the Jazz exhibition loss to Golden State on Monday night was the play of second-year center Enes Kanter.
It's already been reported how Kanter looks different, having shed 51 pounds since leaving Turkey and toning up his 6-foot-11 frame during the offseason. He's also added to his offensive repertoire as he showed in the opening exhibition game, when he scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in just 24 minutes of action Monday night at Golden State.
"He played with a lot of energy, he ran the floor and rebounded the ball extremely well," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin on Tuesday morning. "He's chasing the ball well and feeling good about how he can move and his second jump is really good. The weight loss has been good for him so far and he's still a big guy inside, making contact."
Kanter has worked hard since his rookie season in diversifying his offensive game, which he showed Monday night. A year ago, Kanter's primary (and some would say only) offensive move was an up-and-under, where he fakes a shot and goes under his defender for a layup. This year he has worked on an array of other moves.
"Even last night I heard the other big men, say, 'Don't jump, don't jump, he's going to go up and under,' " Kanter said. "Now I'm working on my hook shot, my baseline shot and really working on my face-up game."
Corbin has noticed the difference in Kanter's overall offensive game.
"He's getting some different moves and not always looking at bang, bang, bang," he said. "The up-and-under move is good for him — he went to that late, but he showed some of the stuff he worked on all summer. He turned and jumped over guys and shot the jump hook, which is good, trying to get some contact to get a little space to get that shot over them."
Kanter says he's more explosive thanks to the weight loss and that is helping his rebounding.
"I felt so much better in the game," he said. "I ran so much better than last year and move so much better. Every rebound I catch, I was above the rim. I feel more explosive. Last year when I got rebounds, I was under the rim."
Kanter says he's also learning from the experience of teammate Al Jefferson.
"In the game I talked to Al and he told me on the bench, 'This guy's doing this, this guy's doing that, you gotta do this move.' I listen to him really well and just try to do what he told me to do."
WHO'S STARTING?: With all the new players on the Jazz roster, a lot of fans were very interested in who started Monday night's first exhibition game.
It was no shocker that Mo Williams and Gordon Hayward started at guards, Marvin Williams and Paul Millsap at forward and Al Jefferson in the middle. The only surprise to some was that Derrick Favors didn't start in place of Millsap.
Like many coaches, Corbin believes too much of a big deal is made of who starts ballgames and he said nothing should be read into who started the first game.
"It's the exhibition season, the first game we've played and that was a group we wanted to look at first. We'll make some changes going forward," he said.2 comments on this story
IN THE PINK: Kanter was asked about the pink-trimmed shoes he was wearing at practice Tuesday, which he also wore the night before.
"I read in the newspaper and they were talking about wearing pink for breast cancer, so I just wanted to wear pink for breast cancer," he said.
JAZZ NOTES: The next exhibition game will be Friday night at home against Oklahoma City at 7 p.m. That will be followed by a game the following night against the Lakers at the Staples Center, followed by two more games in SoCal, at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Tuesday against the Lakers and Wednesday at Staples Center against the Clippers ... The Jazz only shot 37 percent from the field Monday, with Jefferson going 1-for-8 and Hayward 2-for-10 ... Thirteen of the 17 healthy players in camp played Monday, with 11 getting double-digit minutes. Those who didn't get in the game included Trey Gilder, Brian Butch, Chris Quinn and second-round draft choice Kevin Murphy.